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Physician, Clinical Pathologist
Summary Job Description Education Skills, Abilities and Interests More Information

Education RequiredAccording to the ASIP, "Medical schools offer elective courses in pathology in addition to the required basic science course. Some medical schools offer year-long student fellowships in pathology for medical students, usually following the sophomore year in which the general pathology course is given. Under certain circumstances, candidates for primary certification by the American Board of Pathology may receive advanced pathology training credit for this period.

Medical school graduates need four to five years of accredited residency training to prepare for a career in pathology. There are accredited training programs in many hospitals throughout the United States and Canada, and many varied opportunities for subspecialty study. During training, the resident becomes familiar with all activities of a pathology department.

Most pathology residents receive training in both anatomic pathology (AP) and clinical pathology (CP), although it is possible to train in only one. Specialty certification for the medical practice of pathology is the responsibility of the American Board of Pathology (ABP) which offers primary specialty (AP and CP) and subspecialty examinations for certification. Four full years of approved training are required for AP/CP, and three years for AP or CP alone. All applicants for primary certification are required to have one additional full year of clinical training, clinically related research, or an additional year of pathology training."

Recommended High School CoursesInformation unavailable at this time

Postsecondary Instructional ProgramsEducation and Training, English Language, Personnel and Human Resources, Administration and Management, Mathematics, Communications and Media, Chemistry, Biology, Computers and Electronics, Medicine and Dentistry, Clerical

Certification and LicensingFollowing this training, candidates requesting certification must pass an objective written and practical examination. As in other medical disciplines, Board certification is not required for practice, but it is highly prized as evidence of professional competence. A recertification examination is given 10 years after the initial board certification.

According to the American Board of Pathology: "The clinical pathology examination is a one-day examination composed of written and practical sections. The practical section has two parts. One part is primarily image questions, whereas the second part contains questions with graphs, charts, karyotypes, pedigrees, red cell panels, formulas, and other problem-solving exercises. A candidate must pass both the written and the practical portions in order to pass the examination.

Individual topics included in the subject content areas of the clinical pathology examination include, but are not limited to: Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, Chemical Pathology, Hematology, Medical Microbiology, Laboratory Management, and Molecular Pathology.

The written examination consists of 180 multiple-choice questions and is administered with a time limit of 3 hours. The practical examination with images contains 90 questions and has a time limit of 1.5 hours. All questions are in the one-best-answer format. The second part of the practical examination consists of 90 questions with a time limit of 2.5 hours."